Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign accused rival Ted Cruz’s campaign of circulating a CNN story that said advisers to the Florida senator were urging him to drop out of the race.
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said Cruz’s campaign in Hawaii sent the story to its supporters in that state, which holds a presidential contest Tuesday night. The Rubio campaign said the CNN story is false, although the network is standing by it.
“In Hawaii, we’re seeing some dirty tricks by the Ted Cruz campaign,” Conant said during an appearance on MSNBC.
“The Ted Cruz campaign sent that report to their supporters in Hawaii yesterday, to some of our supporters in Hawaii yesterday, suggesting that Marco was getting out of the race,” Conant said. “It’s the exact same thin that Ted Cruz did to Ben Carson in Iowa. There’s no place of that in Republican politics.”
Rubio’s campaign forward an email to reporters that show the “bogus” story being circulated by the Cruz campaign. The original email from “firstname.lastname@example.org” referenced the CNN report that some Rubio advisers are urging him to drop out of the presidential race before his home state primary in Florida on March 15.
The Cruz campaign insisted that the email was not from the Texas senator’s campaign, despite the email using an image of Cruz and his campaign logo.
“The at-issue email and social media posting was not sanctioned by the Cruz for President campaign,” Cruz spokeswoman Alice Stewart said in a statement.
“The campaign became aware of the email this morning by press accounts and upon investigation learned that some volunteers in Hawaii were involved in the posting,” she added.
“The campaign’s counsel had contacted those responsible, who were in no way authorized by the campaign, and demanded that the material be removed and further use of official campaign logos for any purpose terminated.”
Hawaii is one of four states holding contests in the GOP race on Tuesday.